Shirt Anatomy 101: Collars, Hems, and All the Parts in Between
Most moments, you’re probably wearing a shirt. But how well-versed are you with the ins and outs of a shirt’s anatomy? You may have seen shirt terminology referred to in product descriptions or even here on our website. If any of that has got you confused, this article serves to bring clarity.
In this piece, we’ll be talking about the main parts of the shirt, their functions, and what their common variations include. By the end (and maybe with some studying), you’ll be able to. call out every part of a shirt from collar to hem.
The collar is a piece of fabric that is attached at the top opening of the shirt and wraps around the neck. Collars come in a wide variety of styles.
Interlining is a piece of fabric that is sandwiched between two pieces of fabric to give more structure to a section of a garment. Interlining on shirts can be found at the placket, cuffs, and collar.
A fused interlining is an interlining which is bonded to the fabric. In addition to adding heft to a section of the garment, fused interlinings tend to be stiffer and are often seen on dress shirts.
Throat Latch/Tab Collar
A throat latch is a piece of fabric located at the neck of the shirt and extends beyond the top button to a secondary button.
The neck of a shirt is the top of a shirt located at, surprise, the neck of the body. The neck can be finished in a number of ways including a ribbed collar, such as in t-shirts, or a pointed collar as in dress shirts.
Crew neck is a type of neck seen on knit shirts like t-shirts wherein the neck opening is cut with a curve.
V-neck is a type of neck seen on knit shirts like t-shirts wherein the neck opening is cut into a converging point in the shape of a ‘v’.
The yoke is a panel or panels of fabric located either just below the neck and above the shoulder blades on the back of the shirt, or at the upper chest on the front of the shirt. The yoke, like on a pair of jeans, provides shape to the shirt. In other cases, it is also decorative.
A split yoke is a type of yoke that is bifurcated into two pieces and sewn at the center.
Often seen in “cowboy” or western shirts, the western yoke is a decorative yoke, often cut with a scalloped design.
A placket is a slit in a garment that allows flexibility for a garment to be put on. Plackets often feature some type of fastener such as buttons or zippers. For shirts, plackets are usually placed at the neck and extend down, and at the cuffs extending up the sleeve.
A French placket is simply folded at the edge and turned back, and does not feature any visible reinforcement from the outside.
Hidden plackets, sometimes called covered plackets, are similar to French plackets but actually cover the buttons so they are covered.
Fasteners are pieces of hardware which fasten a garment to itself, either to close a placket, cuffs, or pockets. The most common fasteners on shirts are buttons, but many others also use zippers.
Side seams are the seams along the sides of the shirt and run from the armpit to the hem.
Except for sleeveless shirts, the sleeves are the fabric which connects at the shoulders and cover the arms. Sleeves can be cut into different lengths which ranging from just below the shoulder to past the wrist.
This is the most common way to attach a sleeve. Inset sleeves are cut directly from the shoulder point to the armpit.
Raglan sleeves are distinguished from inset sleeves in their attaching. Raglan sleeves are cut from the neck down to the armpit.
As the name implies, inset-raglan sleeves are a combination of both the inset sleeve and the raglan sleeve. Seen above, this shirt has an inset sleeve detail at the front of the shirt and a raglan detail at the back.
The armhole is where the sleeves are attached and is located at the shoulders.
The cuff is the layer of fabric attached at the end of the sleeve. Cuffs vary in their styles and often feature their own placket and fastener. The function of the cuff is to prevent the garment’s fabric from fraying and allows it to be repaired more easily.
The gauntlet button is the button attached at the placket of a sleeve.
The hem is the bottom portion of the shirt where the fabric ends. A hem can be finished and cut in a variety of ways, depending on the shirt.
Square Hem/Flat Hem
A square hem or flat hem is a hem that is cut in a straight, horizontal line, as opposed to a curved hem. Often seen as a more casual detail, this type of hem is most typical on t-shirts, Hawaiian shirts, camp collar shirts.
A curved hem is a hem that features a curved pattern, usually curving upward toward the side seam. The curved detail allows for the shirt to be tucked into the pants without bunching.
A gusset is a piece of fabric which adds durability to a section of a garment. For shirts, gussets are typically seen at the point where the side seams meet the hem or, sometimes, at where the side seams meet the armhole.
A byproduct of factory speed, the chainstitch runoff is a trail of chainstitched threads which hang from the side seam. This detail can be seen on rare vintage workwear shirts as well as modern reproductions.
Piping is a strip of fabric, usually contrasting in color to the garment’s main fabric, which is folded and inserted into the seams of a shirt. Piping is a decorative technique and can often be found on pajama shirts.
Eyelets are small holes in a shirt which are reinforced either with stitching or metal. Commonly placed at the armpits, eyelets provide ventilation.
Pleats are a section of folded fabric that is set into place usually stitches, although they sometimes can be fixed with rivets. Pleats add shape, a greater range of motion, and decoration.
Box Pleat/Center Pleat
A box pleat, sometimes known as a center pleat, is a type of pleat that is located at the. center of the rear yoke of the shirt and is made by folding two parallel, vertical rows of fabric.
These are pleats located at either side of the rear yoke of a shirt.
A dart is a tuck in the fabric that is sewn into a garment to give it more shape. In shirting, darts are often applied to the waist or lower back of the shirt.
Shirring is a group of pleats, sometimes seen in women’s shirts as an embellishment or at the top of curtains. Shirring can also be applied to cuffs, yokes, and shoulders. Shirring can add more volume to a garment.
Invented by Gant, the locker loop is a loop of fabric attached either at the inside of the neck or at the center box pleat. This allows the shirt to be hung on a hook without distorting or stretching the shirt.